Use a CRM to Listen to your Customer

April 11th, 2011 by

I read a good article this week entitled, “The World’s 10 Most Innovative Companies, And How They Do It” by Barry Jaruzelski and Cesare R. Mainardi.  Below are a few snippets from the article that I wanted to share:

·        At the ideation stage, an ability to gain insight into customer needs and an understanding of the potential relevance of emerging technologies.

·        At the product development stage, an ability to engage actively with customers to prove the validity of concepts and to assess market potential and risks, and the ability to leverage existing product platforms into new products.

·        At the commercialization stage, an ability to work with pilot users to roll out products carefully but quickly, and to coordinate across the entire organization for an effective launch.

·        Focusing on critical, differentiating capabilities–things that you do better than anyone else and that align with your innovation and overall business strategy–will give your company the coherence necessary to outperform and out-innovate the competition. 

It is not by accident that the leading innovators like Apple, Google, IBM and achieve success by listening to their customers and building products that solve customer issues.  A White paper  that I refer to when working on a CRM project is, “The Top 10 Reasons CRM Projects Fail” by CGI, and a point they make in the paper is get customer input. 

·       If a CRM is launched without customer input – it is so easy to get caught up in the rush to implement CRM solutions that you forget those people on the outside of your business. Talk with your customers. Find out how they want to be serviced. How can you better meet their needs? How can you collaborate for a true win/win initiative? What are other suppliers doing for them that they like? 

Too often a CRM is implemented to measure the activity of the sales person without looking at the benefit of increased call activity to the customer.  It is okay to use a CRM to ensure a sales rep is making enough calls, but it is just as important to use the call activity log to determine what the customer is saying to the rep about your product and service and use this information to improve. 

 Another snippet from the “The World’s 10 Most Innovative Companies, And How They Do It” is:

·        Leading companies know what they’re good at, how those capabilities create value, and which are the markets where those capabilities can earn them a right to win.

 It is important that we emulate these top innovators by listening to the customer and responding to what the customers are saying.  Companies need look to their implementation of a CRM to help gather information on what customers are saying about their company and make the changes required to better service the target market.

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